He’d loved the way her eyes became hooded, her breathing quickened, her ni**les hardened as though they were reaching for him, but nothing compared to the way that her h*ps had started to shift as though she was imagining his c**k inside her. Just watching her get excited was enough to have his balls draw up tight.

Just as he slid his hand down to the base and held it up in offering she did something that he’d never expected and had never seen another woman do before. She reached down and cupped herself between her legs and released a moan so sweet that he’d honestly been surprised that he hadn’t instantly exploded.

His hand started to move again, his eyes locked on her hand as she slowly massaged her mound. His breathing had become labored as she explored herself, her fingers sliding between her slit, glistening with her arousal and, when she tentatively slid a finger inside of herself, he’d been forced to grip his c**k tightly to stop himself from coming.

For several agonizing minutes he watched as his wife learned to pleasure herself. Her expression had been one of pleasure mixed with disbelief and wonder. She’d been so goddamn beautiful and when he told her so, she’d blushed prettily, but didn’t stop.

No, not his minx.

She’d loved the way that he reacted to her, enjoyed it to the point that she started to tease him . She’d caressed her breast with her free hand, slid her fingers slowly inside her core and he’d lost control of his tongue. He told her in detail how much he loved watching her, how badly he wanted to suck on her fingers, lick her clean and f**k her. He swore, used words that no man of his class would use in front of his wife and hadn’t cared, especially since it made her lose control.

When she found her moment, he’d simply watched her, loving the way her skin flushed with excitement, her br**sts bounced, and the way she moaned and whimpered with every thrust of her fingers. The moment that she’d finished, she found herself on her back and his c**k ramming inside her still quivering sheath.

He hadn’t lasted long, but he’d taken her with everything he had, not holding back until she was screaming his name and he was spilling inside of her. Moments after he’d come, he was still slowly thrusting his softening c**k inside of her, wanting nothing more than to take her again, but his minx it seemed had other plans.

With a muttered cry of distress, she’d pushed him away, slapped a hand over her mouth and ran to the chamber pot and proceeded to get sick. Feeling like a bastard for taking her so soon after she’d lost the baby, he got up to go comfort her, but she wasn’t having that. Anytime he came close enough to fuss over her, she would shake her head and let out a pitiful moan that left his chest aching.

He hated seeing her like this and wanted to take care of her, but the damn woman was being stubborn. The only thing that she would allow him to do was to have a bath drawn for her so that she could soak and to come downstairs and inquire about the peppermint tea that the cook had suggested would ease her stomach.

“Robert? Did you hear anything that I just said,” his mother snapped in frustration.

“Yes, of course,” he lied, ramming his fingers through his hair. Where the hell was her tea?

“No, you didn’t,” she said, sighing softly, but didn’t seem all that upset over the matter.

“Sorry,” he said, shooting her a forced smile before he returned his attention to the hallway.

“I don’t want to see you hurt, Robert,” his mother said as she came to her feet and walked towards him, stepping in his path and giving him no choice but to stop pacing.

“I’m not going to get hurt,” he murmured, shifting his attention past his mother and towards the kitchen.

“I hoped that one day you’d make a good match, Robert,” she started to explain, but he was in no mood for a lecture this morning.

“This is a good match,” he said quietly, giving her a smile as he leaned down and pressed a kiss to his mother’s cheek. “Better than good.”

“I know that Elizabeth is beautiful and exciting, but that doesn’t make for a good match, Robert. These feelings won’t last forever and when they’re gone you’ll be left with a wife that you don’t want, who makes you unhappy and I don’t want that for you.”

“What feelings are these?” he found himself asking, wondering if his mother realized that he was in love with Elizabeth.

She cleared her throat uncomfortably as she shifted her gaze away from him. “The feelings men have for beautiful women, Robert. I may be your mother, but I know that men often allow their attentions to take control of their lives and I’m afraid that’s what you’ve done, Robert. You’ve married a woman that you hate simply because she’s beautiful.”

“That’s not why I married her,” Robert said, trying to reassure his mother that everything would be okay.

“I know that you married her to do the right thing. That’s how you were raised and I would expect nothing less from you, Robert, but with the baby gone you can fix this mistake. You can end this marriage before anyone gets hurt,” she said, her tone pleading as she reached out and took both his hands into hers.

“You and I both know that an annulment is no longer an option. Not after this morning. By now everyone will know that this is a marriage in truth.”

“Your father and Lord Norwood have taken care of that,” his mother said tightly, looking anywhere but at him and not sounding pleased to have this conversation any more than he was.

“And what exactly did they take care of?” he demanded, pulling his hands away.

“They’ve made sure that none of the servants will talk,” she said, looking up at him. “As you can see, there’s still time to fix this, Robert.”

“There’s nothing to fix,” he said evenly, done with this conversation. “We’re not getting this marriage annulled so you can save your efforts, because they’re not wanted.”

“Would you please listen to reason and-”

“I love her!” he snapped, realizing his mistake only too late. He shook his head in frustration. “Just forget that I said-”

“You love her?” she asked, looking stunned.

“Yes,” he said, realizing there was no point in lying about it. The words were already out and knowing his mother, she would never be able to pretend otherwise.

“Truly?” she asked, her eyes narrowing on him as she waited for an answer.

“Truly,” he said, preparing himself for the tears of joy and mushy sentiments that were no doubt about to follow.

Women were silly creatures when it came to declarations of love, but at least it would gain his mother’s support, he realized. He hadn’t planned on telling her how he felt, but it was probably for the best. She’d put an end to this annulment bullshit and he could focus on more important matters like his investments. It had been several days since he’d been able to get any work done and now that Elizabeth was on the mend he could-

“Bloody hell!” he shouted, moving to yank his hand away from the vicious woman, but apparently he hadn’t moved fast enough, because his mother struck his knuckles with her fan, again.

“That’s for swearing in front of your mother!” she snapped, propping her fists on her h*ps as she scowled at him, making her attentions for another attack clear if he stepped out of line.